SWOLF FAQs – Swimming SWOLF scores frequently asked questions. Learn how SWOLF metric information can help you swim faster.

SWOLF meaning

Question: What does SWOLF mean?

Answer: Essentially SWOLF is an abbreviation for “SW”im g”OLF”.  SWOLF number will help bring more science to your swim training and improve your performance.  It is a swimming metric designed to help measure swimming efficiency.  Your SWOLF score is the sum of the time for one pool length (assuming a 25m pool) plus the number of strokes for that length. For example, 30 seconds plus 15 strokes equals a SWOLF score of 45.


Question: What does average SWOLF score mean?

Answer: Every 25 meters of swimming produces an individual SWOLF score.  At the end of your swimming session these scores are aggregated and then divided by the number of laps (normally 25m distances).  This then produces an average of the individual SWOLF scores.  When data from your multi-sport watch is uploaded to Garmin connect or alternative app you can see the trend analysis of your SWOLF.

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SWOLF scores compared

Question: What is a Good SWOLF score?

Answer: The principle of SWOLF is that the fewer strokes and less time you take, the more efficient your are as a swimmer.  As a result you should use the SWOLF score to track your efficiency in the water. If you are after a target number to aim for then a SWOLF of 40 is considered good.

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Question: How to Improve SWOLF Score

Answer: There are three different ways to improve your SWOLF score:

  1. Reduce the number of strokes you take but maintain the same time per length of the pool
  2. Maintain the same stroke rate but reduce the time taken per length.
  3. Or most likely achieve an improvement against both with less strokes and less time over 25 metres.


Question: Why is SWOLF not a good measure?

Answer: SWOLF is intended to give you a metric of the efficiency of your swim.  It is ultimately flawed as it isn’t actually measuring effort.  There is no heart rate element to the score so impossible to determine effort applied.  It is merely combining time with stoke rate.  To be truly effective it needs to combine heart rate into this number seeking a lower heart rate linked to lower effort.

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Best watches for SWOLF

Question: What are the best watches to track your SWOLF score?

Answer: Our top 2 favourite multi-sport watches currently are the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Suunto 9.

Garmin Forerunner 945XT

Chain Reaction Cycles currently have stock and are selling for £499

The Top Dog of triathlon watches and a masterclass in swimming smart watch technology.  Garmin have worked to refine the recipe since the 80’s inspired 910XT.  Each rebirth of this classic has added more functionality and slimmed down the profile.  The latest model being lighter and thinner than while still delivering a wrist based heart monitor. 

Suunto 9 GPS watch

Amazon currently have stock and are selling for £515

The Suunto 9 multisport watch is their top of the range and a genuine alternative to the well established Garmin 945.  The Suunto 9 comes with an all new intelligent battery with three predefined battery modes: Performance, Endurance, and Ultra. The modes provide from 25 to 120 hours of recording time with GPS tracking on. The watch comes with 80 different built-in sport modes the watch comes with specific metrics for each sport.


Categories: Triathlon


Having founded Trivelo in 2015 after many years competing in triathlon Billy continues to enjoy cycling and triathlon. Founder Billy enjoys road cycling and mountain biking for some adventure. Generally a fair weather cyclist who come the winter months retreats to the turbo trainer!